DALHOUSIE, JAMES ANDREW BROUN RAMSAY, First Marquis of (1812-1860), Governor-General of India (1848-56), son of George (1770-1838), the ninth Earl in the peerage of Scotland, was born at Dalhousie Castle on 22 April 1812. He was educated at Harrow and at Christ Church, Oxford. He succeeded his father to the peerage in 1838 and became member of the House of Lords. In 1845, he became president of the Board of Trade. In 1846, he declined a post in the British cabinet under Sir Robert Peel. In 1847, however, he agreed to accept the office of Governor-General of India.
Lord Dalhousie arrived in India in January 1848. Soon thereafter incidents took place in Multān resulting in the revolt of the local Sikh governor, Mūll Rāj. This was merely a local affair which could have been easily put down by timely action, but Lord Dalhousie deliberately avoided intervention. The Dalhousie papers clearly indicate that immediate advance on Multān was neither perilous not impracticable. Yet the Governor-General delayed action for five months so that the trouble might spread, giving the British the excuse to come down on the Punjab with all their might and eventually annex it to their dominions.
Meanwhile, military preparations for a full-scale war in the Punjab and its final annexation were set afoot. The Governor General began to call the Multān revolt a national rising of the Sikhs. "The die is cast", declared Dalhousie. In November 1848, Lord Gough invaded the Punjab. The main actions of this undeclared war were fought at Rāmnagar (22 November 1848), Cheliāṅvālā (13 January 1849) and Gujrāt (21 February 1849). On 29 March 1849, the Kingdom of the Punjab was annexed to the British Crown. In England, public and private opinion was averse to annexation, and the British cabinet had directed the Governor-General to report the opinion of the Government of India. But Lord Dalhousie forestalled both the Secret Committee and the India Board by taking the step on his own responsibility.
Lord Dalhousie returned to England in 1856. He died on 19 December 1860.
B. J. Hasrat